Spammers using new methods to slip past filters
Over the past week, there has been an increase in the amount of spam reaching inboxes as spammers have changed their methods in an effort to sneak past the filters on major email clients such as Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo.
The bulk of spam emails are usually filtered out before you ever see them but spammers have figured out a way to sneak past these filters using new methods and altering their keywords so the filters can’t identify them. While the email companies are expected to update and improve their filters over the coming weeks, it’s a good idea to be a little extra wary of your emails.
How to identify a spam email
Although spammers have gotten craftier over the years, there are some signs to look out for when determining an email’s credibility. For example, many spam emails will contain a very small amount of text, like a single sentence with an attachment. Another good indication is poor spelling and grammar.
Also, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you get an email promising you large amounts of money or a date with an attractive Russian you’ve never met before, it’s definitely spam. Watch out especially for job offers that you don’t remember applying for. These can be especially dangerous as some will try to trick you into handing over your bank details, which they will then use to launder money, potentially leaving you liable to criminal prosecution! Do not trust any job offer that requires you to move money using your personal bank account.
Be suspicious of any requests that ask for your personal information or bank account details via email – even if it is from your bank or employer. This is a method of spam called phishing, in which a scammer will use the logos of a well-known company and pretend to be them. They’ll usually say that there was a problem with their system or that they need to confirm some details with you. If the email contains links to the company’s website, do not click them as they will likely be either a fake website or a virus. Know that no legitimate company would ask for your private details via email.
Some of the sneakier phishing scams will simply ask you to log on to the website, but the link they provide will send you to a fake website which will then steal your login details. If you ever get an email like this that you are unsure about, go to the company’s website by typing it into your browser – not via any links n the email – and log in that way.
How to stay safe online
- Never open an attachment on an email that you were not expecting to receive or you if don’t know who sent it. These links may contain malware that can harm your computer or steal your information.
- Make sure your anti-virus and anti-spyware software is up to date and always keep important files backed up.
- Never send personal or financial information via email! • If you think your email address has been compromised, change your password immediately.
If you think you may have provided your account details to a scammer accidentally, contact your bank as soon as possible. If you think you may have been contacted by a scammer, you can report it to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission at this address:
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